Oregon's Right to Repair bill is now a law

Governor Tina Kotek has signed Oregon's SB 1596.

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Oregon Governor Tina Kotek has signed the state's Right to Repair bill into law, and it even comes with a provision that potentially makes it stronger than California's and Minnesota's versions. It's the first to prohibit (PDF) a practice called "parts pairing," which requires the use of certain proprietary components for repair. Parts pairing prevents third-party repair services from replacing a broken component with one that didn't come from the brand itself, because it wouldn't work with the company's software. People would usually get error messages if they try to install an unauthorized part, forcing them to buy from the company itself.

Under the new rules, preventing an independent provider from installing off-brand parts is prohibited. As is reducing the performance of a device that had been fixed with an unauthorized component. Even those error messages and warnings are not allowed. The ban on parts pairing doesn't cover devices that are already out, though, and will only be applicate for anything manufactured after January 1, 2025.

While manufacturers like Apple seem to have changed their tune in recent years and now generally support the Right to Repair movement, Oregon's parts pairing provision was still a point of contention. Apple senior manager John Perry told lawmakers in a testimony that his company "agrees with the vast majority of Senate Bill 1596." However, it's also worried about the security implications of allowing the use of unauthorized parts, such as biometric sensors, for replacement.

Regardless, the ban on parts pairing is now a rule under Oregon's law, along with making compatible parts available to device owners through the company or authorized service providers for favorable prices and without any "substantial" conditions. Companies are also required to make documentation on how to fix their devices, as well as any special tools needed to repair them, available to repair shops. These rules will apply to all phones sold after July 1, 2021 and to other consumer electronic devices sold after July 1, 2015.